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Shared Work : Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Shared Work?

A: Shared Work is a program that allows you to collect partial unemployment benefits if your hours and wages have been reduced by 20% to 60%, AND your employer has been approved by the Department of Labor to participate in this program. Under the Shared Work Program, the weekly amount of unemployment benefits you receive is related to the percentage your hours and wages have been reduced. For instance, if your work hours and wages have been reduced by 20% on a given week, you may receive 20% of your unemployment weekly benefit rate.


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Q: What are the advantages of the Shared Work Program?

A: Essentially, the Shared Work Program provides employers with an alternative to laying off employees when they have to deal with business downturns. Rather that laying off a percentage of the workforce to cut costs, an employer can reduce the hours and wages of all or a particular group of employees. The employees whose hours and wages have been reduced can receive partial unemployment wages to supplement their lost wages. The Shared Work Program helps employers to avoid some of the burdens that accompany a layoff situation, and helps employees by sparing them the hardships of full unemployment.


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Q: How does it work?

A:

Your employer designs a Shared Work Plan and submits it for approval to the New York State Department of Labor. Once the plan is approved, your employer will notify you so that you can start claiming your Shared Work benefits.

If you do not have an existing Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim, you must file one between the Monday and Sunday of your first reduced Shared Work week. You can file by:

  • Going online at www.labor.ny.gov between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday (Eastern Standard Time),  7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday, all day Saturday, and Sunday until 7:00 p.m. or
  • Calling 1-888-209-8124 for New York State residents (or 1-877-358-5306 for out-of-state residents) between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
You can file your claim online or by telephone in English or Spanish.  If you need translation services for languages other than Spanish, call (518) 485-6375. 

Filing a claim online has multiple benefits. The processing of the claim is expedited and direct deposit of benefits into the claimant's personal checking account is an option. This option is only available to claimants who file their claims online.

If you elect not to have your benefits deposited into your personal checking account, you will be issued a debit card. The cards, known as Direct Payment Cards, offer UI Shared Work claimants, a safe, easy, convenient way to access your benefits. You will receive a welcome packet from Chase bank with your Direct Payment Card, instructions for activating the card and selecting a Personal Identification Number (PIN), and general information regarding its use. You will need to call Chase Customer Service toll free at 1-877-221-1634 to activate the card. Further information about the Direct Payment Card is available on the Department's website www.labor.ny.gov. Go to Unemployment Assistance, Direct Payment Card.

You will recieive the Direct Payment card approximately one week after your Shared Work claim has been established in our system. Generally, Shared Work benefits will be electronically transferred to a participant's Direct Payment Card account within 48-72 hours of processing the Shared Work Continued Claims SW4 form.

After you file your claim, you need to claim credit for the first week of your claim (an unpaid waiting period), and claim benefits for each week your wages and hours are reduced. You must use certification forms provided to you by your employer for this purpose. After you complete the first portion of the certification form, your employer is responsible for completing the second portion of the form and mailing it to our Shared Work Unit. Your Shared Work benefits will then be electronically transferred to your personal checking account or to your Direct Payment Card account two to three business days after we process the certification form.

If you already have an existing unemployment insurance claim, you need to claim your weekly benefits by using certification forms provided to you by your employer.


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Q: What are the Shared Work Plan requirements?

A: To be able to participate in the Shared Work Program, your employer has agreed:

  • To reduce the hours and wages of all or a particular group of employees by no less than 20% and no more than 60%.
  • To include in the Shared Work Plan only workers who normally work no more than 40 hours per week.
  • Not to reduce or eliminate fringe benefits, including health, medical insurance, and retirement, provided prior to the start of the Shared Work Plan unless the fringe benefits of the entire workforce are reduced or eliminated.
  • That the plan cannot exceed 53 weeks.
  • Not to hire additional employees for the work group that is covered by the Shared Work Plan.
  • That the Shared Work Plan must be approved by a collective bargaining agent, if there is one.
  • That the Shared Work Plan must be in lieu of a layoff for an equivalent percentage of employees.
  • That all employees in an affected unit must be included in the program and reduced to the same extent during each week of the plan. The percentage of reduction may vary from unit to unit or week to week as long as it remains between 20% and 60%.
If you feel that your employer has not honored these requirements, please contact the Department of Labor – Liability and Determination Section at (518) 457-5807.


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Q: What are your eligibility requirements?

A: If you are on the approved Shared Work Plan:

  • You must serve a waiting week before receiving any Shared Work benefits, unless you have already served a waiting week on an existing claim.
  • You must meet the same basic eligibility requirements that apply to regular unemployment insurance benefits, except that you only need to be available to work for the Shared Work employer; i.e. you are not required to look for other work.
  • Any work with a different employer or self-employment will reduce the amount of Shared Work benefits for which you are eligible.
  • You are not eligible for Shared Work benefits in any week in which you receive supplemental unemployment compensation benefits (SUB pay).
  • You may receive a maximum of 26 weeks of regular Shared Work benefits, plus any federal extended benefits you may qualify for during your benefit year. You may not receive more in a benefit year from Shared Work benefits combined with regular UI benefits than you would receive under the regular UI program alone (26 times regular benefit rate).
  • You must physically work at least one day with your Shared Work employer in order to be eligible for Shared Work benefits in a particular week.

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Q: What is the weekly amount that I will receive?

A: Under the Shared Work Program, you may receive your weekly benefit rate multiplied by the percentage that your hours and wages have been reduced by your employer. For example, if your weekly hours and wages have been reduced by 30% and your regular benefit rate is $400, you will receive $120 ($400 x 30%) per week in Shared Work benefits. (See chart below)

Weekly Unemployment Benefit Rate ($)Percent Reduction (%)Weekly Shared Work Benefits ($)
400 20 80
400 30 120
400 40 160
400 50 200
400 60 240

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Q: What if I believe my Shared Work weekly benefit amount is incorrect?

A: After filing your Shared Work claim, an initial Monetary Determination (form LO 403) will be mailed to you, showing your work and wages over the past 18 months that were used to calculate your benefit rate. If you believe that the form is incorrect or needs to be recalculated, you can contact the Shared Work Unit at (518) 485-6375. You can also correct incomplete or missing wages by using the Request for Reconsideration form found on our website in the Unemployment Insurance Forms section.


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Q: Is there a limit on the amount I can earn at work in one week and still be paid Shared Work benefits?

A: No, there is no limit on how much you can earn with your Shared Work employer. As long as your work hours and wages are reduced by 20% to 60% in a given week, you may collect Shared Work benefits for that week.


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Q: Will working a second, part-time job affect my benefit rate?

A: Yes. Any work with a different employer or self-employment will reduce the amount of Shared Work benefits that you may receive each week. As is the case with regular unemployment, for each day that you work in a week, you lose one quarter of your Shared Work benefits. For example, if you normally receive $80 in Shared Work benefits and you work two days in a week, your benefit amount would be reduced by half to $40.


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Q: If I normally work overtime, can I receive Shared Work benefits for a reduction in my overtime hours?

A: No. Shared Work benefits can only be paid to compensate for wages lost because of a reduction in your normal work schedule of no more than 40 hours per week.


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Q: Can I receive benefits if my normal hours and wages are reduced less than 20% or more than 60%?

A: No. Benefits cannot be received from the Shared Work Program if your hours and wages are reduced less than 20% or more than 60%. However, you may be eligible to receive partial benefits under the regular unemployment insurance program. Contact the Shared Work Unit at (518) 485-6375 for additional information.


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Q: What is the maximum amount of Shared Work benefits I can receive?

A: You may receive a maximum of 26 weeks of regular Shared Work benefits, plus any federal extended benefits you may qualify for.


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Q: Can I receive regular unemployment benefits after receiving Shared Work benefits?

A: If you are still partially unemployed after collecting all Shared Work benefits, or if you become totally unemployed, you may be eligible for regular unemployment benefits. However, the amount you will receive for Shared Work benefits and regular unemployment benefits under a single claim cannot exceed the amount you could receive under the regular unemployment insurance program alone (26 times your regular benefit rate).

For example, if your benefit rate is $400 and your work was reduced by 40% for 10 weeks, you would have received $1,600 (400 x 40% = $160 x 10wks) in Shared Work benefits. On a regular claim, the maximum amount that you could receive in a benefit year would be $10,400 (400 x 26 wks). In this case, you could be able to receive the remaining balance, which would be 10,400 – 1,600, or $8,800. (See chart below.)

UI Rate % Reduction# of WeeksSW Amt ReceivedUI Max AllowedRemaining Balance
400 20 10 800 10,400 9,600
400 30 10 1,200 10,400 9,200
400 40 10 1,600 10,400 8,800
400 50 10 2,000 10,400 8,400
400 60 10 2,400 10,400 8,000

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Q: How will Shared Work benefits affect my income taxes?

A: Any unemployment benefits that you receive, including Shared Work benefits, are subject to federal, state and local income tax.


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Q: Can I have income tax withheld from my Shared Work benefits?

A: Yes. You can have federal and New York State withholding tax deducted from your weekly Shared Work benefits. Learn more about withholding taxes from Shared Work benefits.


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Q: How are Shared Work benefits or payments issued?

A: If you file your initial claim online, you have the option of having your benefits directly deposited into your checking account or issued via a Direct Payment Card. If you do not file your initial claim online, your only option is to have your benefits deposited to a Direct Payment Card. If you use the Direct Payment Card, you will receive a packet from Chase Bank with a Direct Payment Card, instructions for activating the card and selecting a PIN, and general information regarding its use.


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Q: Who should I contact if I have a question about my Shared Work benefits or if I have not received my benefit payments?

A: You should contact the Shared Work Unit at (518) 485-6375. Do not contact the Telephone Claims Center. They do not have the information needed to assist you.


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